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Palgrave Macmillan

Rebel Governance in the Middle East

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  • © 2023


  • Offers new perspectives to the concept of rebel governance

  • Engages with literature on rebels and rebel governance in the Middle East

  • Explains importance of examining genealogies tribalism, local knowledge, and social networks

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About this book

This book uses the cases of Syrian factions in rebel-held areas, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Houthi in Yemen, rebels in Libya, Taliban in Afghanistan, In Iraq, and Somalia to explain the importance of examining genealogies tribalism, common local knowledge and social networks in understanding the institutionalisation of armed group governance systems. The book provides a series of studies employing  heterogenous methodological approaches to address the issue using qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods. The proposed project also attempts to move away from the central debate on the national political crisis trend by examining the sub-national level patterns and assessing various factors and questions that bring about clear answers regarding how de-facto rulers use tribes and tribal informal institutions to sustain their presence and create a safe social incubator.


Table of contents (12 chapters)


"This edited volume provides a much-needed examination of rebel governance in the Middle East and Northern Africa region. Fraihat and Alijla push the boundaries of our understanding of rebel governance by exploring a myriad of non-state actors with complex relationships to contested state authorities and employing a variety of types of governance behavior. The rich case studies from across MENA make this a must read for scholars of rebel governance." (Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham, Professor, University of Maryland) 

"This collection of rigorous and historically grounded case studies on governance by non-state actors in the Middle East is an innovative contribution to the literature on conflict in the region, which has tended to focus heavily on political violence with less attention to the importance of institutions. The authors fill this gap using diverse qualitative and quantitative methods to show how the state-building ideologies and other political and economic motivations of groups including the Taliban, Hamas, and Hezbollah have shaped their control of territory and governance of people." (Mara Revkin, Associate Professor of Law, Duke University)

Editors and Affiliations

  • School of Social Sciences & Humanities, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Doha, Qatar

    Ibrahim Fraihat

  • Varieties of Democracy Institute, Gothenburg, Sweden

    Abdalhadi Alijla

About the editors

Ibrahim Fraihat is an associate professor in international conflict resolution at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and non-resident fellow at Deakin University’s Middle East Studies Forum in Australia. He previously served as senior foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution, and taught conflict resolution at Georgetown University and George Washington University. His latest book publications include: Iran and Saudi Arabia: Taming a Chaotic Conflict (Edinburgh University Press, 2020), Unfinished Revolutions: Yemen, Libya, and Tunisia after the Arab Spring​ (Yale University Press, 2016). Dr. Fraihat has published extensively on Middle East politics, with articles appearing in The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Huffington Post, Al Jazeera websites, and elsewhere. Fraihat received a doctorate in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University in 2006. He is the recipient of George Mason University's Distinguished Alumni Award (2014) for his achievements in the field of conflict resolution.@i_fraihat

Abdalhadi Alijla is a social and political scientist and science advocate. He is the 2021 International Political Science Association Global South Award. He is the Co-Leader of Global Migration and Human Rights at Global Young Academy. He is a co-founder of Palestine Young Academy in 2020. He is an Associate Researcher and the Regional Manager of Varieties of Democracy Institute (Gothenburg University) for Gulf countries. He is a Post-doctoral fellow at the Orient Institute in Beirut (OIB).


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